Optus and Vodafone embrace for shared mobile sites

Today we have some news for our readers in Australia regarding a joint venture between Optus and Vodafone. The two operators are embracing to establish new, shared mobile sites as Vodafone steps up the game to enhance the reputation of its mobile network. This move will enable roaming for Vodafone Hutchison Australia customers on the Optus network.

Back in 2009 Australia’s mobile networks fell to 3 operators from 4 following the consolidation of Vodafone and Hutchison. Telstra has beaten the competition to be the first to develop a 4G network and this news today means that Vodafone and Optus will be working together against Telstra. The 3GIS network was a joint venture involving Telstra and Hutchinson ‘3’ which is coming to an end this year and now 900 base stations from that venture will be incorporated into Vodafone’s network.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission still has to pass approval for the Vodafone and Optus plans but once approved, Vodafone customers will have access to 400 Optus base stations, according to smh.com. As well as this around 500 new base stations will be built as new shared sites within the next four years giving Optus the opportunity to expand its 3G and 4G coverage across the country. Extra mobile sites are planned for Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Central Coast, Geelong, Gold Coast, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Vodafone chief executive Bill Morrow said that the developments mean that 96% of Australians will have access to Vodafone’s network coverage. 1,100 new 3G sites have been built by Vodafone since 2009 with the company spending $1 billion on its network in that time. Within months, around 400 new sites will have been built.

Barry Roberts-Thomson, chair of Hutchison Telecommunications, asserted that VHA has the support of both of its major shareholders (Hutchison Whampoa based in Hong Kong and Telecom New Zealand) and that Hutchison and Vodafone would both carry on supporting the VHA joint venture. Following customer complaints about Vodafone’s poor service in some areas Mr Roberts-Thomson also said that Vodafone is working to improve its reputation with new innovations and simplified pricing plans but acknowledged, “turning around customer perception will take longer.”

What are your thoughts on these developments regarding Vodafone and Optus and shared mobile sites? Let us know with your comments.

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